Linked Foundation & Global Partnerships Collaborate on Health Services Fund

Poor health and poverty are inextricably linked in ways that tragically reinforce each other. Impoverished people, particularly women, lack access to not only basic health care, but also to the information and support that would empower them to weave better health decisons into their daily lives. With the ability to reach large numbers within a trusted relationship MFIs and cooperatives are in a unique position to shift this povery-health dynamic. For this reason, Linked Foundation and Global Partnerships (GP) work with partners to identify high impact health initiatives including prevention and access to services that can be brought to scale. Non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes and cervial cancer, are leading causes of death in the Americas. Prevention and awareness around the risk factors could reduce the incapacitating burden of many prevalent halth care concerns for micro entrepreneurs and thier families, and save thousands of lives every year.

One of the gating factors in providing and scaling essential health services through microfinance instituitions and cooperatives in Latin America is business model innovation - pioneering revenue sustained approaches that our partners can use to broaden their services and deepen their impact.

The Health Services Fund is Global Partnerships vehicle for supporting this market-specific business model innovation by partners in the area of microfinance and health. GP's Health Services Fund team provides strategic guidance and technical assistane in business model design coupled with catalytic,multi-year startup grants to advance business models that can effectively and sustainably reach impoverished people with health education and services.

The genesis of the HSF was GP's experience developing a revenue-sustained model for delivering health education, diagnostics, and low cost services through the village bank model in Nicaragua. The business model there leverages the unique, low marginal cost delivery opportunity created by village banks and focal centers, as well as the ability of the MFI to negotiate discounted group access to private health service providers that would be unavailable on an individual basis. All components of the health services package are focused on prevalent conditions, that are often preventable and for which treatment is accessible, ranging from respiratory and diarrheal disease, to hypertension and diabetes, to adolescent pregnancy.  Sustaining revenue includes low fees and portfolio yield from across members. Our Nicaraguan partner has successfully piloted the model to reach more than 6,000 women in 15 months and is tracking to reach more than 30,000 women.  Based on these results, Global Partnerships launched the Health Services Fund aimed at developing health strategies with six partners in six countries over the next thirty-six months. Our goal is to create business models that directly and sustainably bring essential health services to more than 100,000 people - most of them low income women - with the potential to scale to reach millions. Partnership agreements have already been signed in Haiti and Ecuador, and negotiations are underway in Honduras. Collectively, this next set of partners serve more than 130,000 clients with microfinance and have CEOs in place who are committed to development of sustainable, scalable business models for integrated health services that reach most or all of their clients.

The $2.6 million Health Services Fund has already sourced commitments from GP for $600,000 in strategic and technical assistance, $600,000 in catalytic grant capital from the Linked Foundation, and $900,000 in catalytic grant capital from one of GP’s largest Development Finance Institutional investors. We are currently seeking commitments by 2 to 4 other grant funders in amounts between $125,000 and $250,000 to complete funding for the initiative.  

Global Partnerships is a not-for-profit social investor dedicated to expanding opportunity for people living in poverty.  With staff based in GP’s Seattle and Managua offices, GP has $41.4 million in socially-motivated loan capital invested in 34 microfinance institution (MFI) and cooperative partners in ten Latin American countries.

GP’s social investment Funds support partners that couple microfinance with delivery of essential services beyond credit: health, education, agricultural technical assistance combined with better access to market access, and green technology.  We do so because these approaches are more likely than credit alone to help people earn a living and improve their lives.  GP also invests knowledge capital with a subset of these partners to innovate and strengthen the business models that can deliver integrated high-impact services at scale.  

Meet our implementing partners:

www.promujer.org,  Addressing Chronic Disease in Latin America: Pro Mujers Health Pilot Program One Year Later

www.fonkoze.org